When germs spread like wildfire through the office, we all want to be the one who avoids getting sick. We've got your back – or more specifically, your immune system. There are lots of easy ways to build up your immune system, starting right now! Check out these 7 super tips to boost your immune system ... including a daily drink for the ultimate immune support.
5 Signs of a Weak Immune System
1. You’re Tired All the TimeWe all get the dreaded 3 o’clock slump, but do you feel like you’re tired ALL THE TIME … even after you get a full night’s sleep? This is a surefire sign that your immune system isn’t working at full speed.
2. You Have Tummy TroublesListen to your gut. It will tell you if there’s something wrong with your immune system … in the form of diarrhea, bloating and even migraines. The health of your gut is directly tied to your immune system. In fact, 70–80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut!
3. You’re Carrying Extra PoundsOne-third of Americans are now classified as obese. Extra weight can put a big strain on our immune systems. It puts our bodies into a state of chronic inflammation, where the immune system is always switched to “GO” mode. This can lead to problems like diabetes, heart disease and susceptibility to the flu. A 2018 flu study showed that obesity doesn’t just increase a person’s likelihood of getting the flu; it also increases their time of being contagious.
4. You Live in a CaveOK, maybe not an actual cave, but if you hibernate and never expose your skin to sunlight, it can weaken your immune system because your body needs vitamin D, aka “the sunshine vitamin” for a strong immune system.
5. You’re Always SickYour immune system is like a shield, designed to keep out invaders like cold and flu bugs. When your immune system is weak, the shield gets holes in it, letting in those pesky invaders. Note: if you’re sick all the time, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. To give yourself peace of mind, make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup.
Does Age Influence Immune Support?Age is just a number … except when it comes to our immune systems. As we age, our immune systems don’t function as powerfully. That’s why seniors are more prone to infections and can’t fight them as well. In fact, respiratory infections, flu and pneumonia are leading causes of death in people ages 65+. For golden oldies, exercise is especially important to help “stop the clock” and keep the immune system healthy. Studies on exercise and immunity suggest that long-term “chronic” exercise can prevent the deterioration of the immune system.
7 Super Tips to Boost Immune System Function
1. Exercise to Boost ImmunityRegular, moderate exercise boosts the immune system by helping with circulation. Poor circulation plays a role in virtually every type of disease. Circulation Systems in the Body:
- Cardiovascular Circulation System: This is where the heart pumps blood throughout the body, supplying it with oxygen and vital nutrients. Exercise helps keep the heart healthy, so it doesn’t have to work so hard.
- Lymphatic Circulation System: This system keeps blood and lymphatic fluid levels healthy, flushes out toxins and waste, and transports immune cells throughout the body. Unlike the cardiovascular system, which has the mighty heart to support it, the lymphatic system relies on gravity and muscle contractions (aka exercise and movement) to activate it.
2. Book a Spa DayYes, now we can book those spa days guilt-free! In addition to exercise, massage therapy and hydrotherapy can stimulate lymphatic circulation to boost our immune systems. Plus, by helping to relieve stress, a day at the spa doubles down on TLC for the immune system.
3. Get Your Vitamin DUnless your alter ego is Count Dracula, it’s recommended to soak up at least 10–15 minutes of the sun’s rays each day before slapping on the sunscreen. (Sunlight allows our bodies to produce vitamin D.) As Americans, we’re falling short on this task – over 40 percent of us are deficient in the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency makes us more susceptible to upper respiratory infections, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression and colon cancer. If it’s the middle of winter or you need to shy away from the sun, look to get vitamin D in your diet (not super easy to do) or take a max absorption vitamin supplement.
4. Eat “The 3 Gs”We’re talking garlic, ginger and greens: the nutritional (and tasty) trifecta that your immune system will LOVE. Here is why these ingredients are so amazing …
- Ginger Root: Packed with immune-boosting benefits, this sweet-tasting root has long been used to cleanse the lymphatic system, treat inflammatory disorders and prevent respiratory illness. It’s also antibacterial to boost immune system strength and help with tummy troubles like nausea and upset stomach. Check out this immune-boosting Ginger Tea Recipe.
- Garlic: Garlic packs a powerful punch in the immunity department with compounds that boast antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that high garlic intake helps protect against stomach and colorectal cancers. (Worried about “garlic breath”? Use a handy dental tool called a tongue scraper.)
- Green Veggies: Spinach, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are top cancer-fighting foods. They’re rich in disease-fighting nutrients to boost your immune system and help keep it strong. Not used to getting your greens? Try hiding spinach and kale in fruit smoothies.
5. Take Care of Your GutA healthy gut is a healthy immune system. There are foods and drinks you can add to your diet right now to take better care of your gut and immune system. Bone Broth. Known as “liquid gold,” bone broth may sound intimidating to make, but it’s really just stock that’s been simmered for at least 10-20 hours. Think you don’t have time? Bust out your slow cooker and let it do the work for you. Here’s an easy-peasy slow cooker bone broth recipe. (Bone broth bonus: in addition to helping the digestive system, bone broth is known for its anti-aging and arthritis-relief benefits.) Fermented Foods. Fermented foods have beneficial bacteria to support your gut health. In order of most potent to least, try these fermented foods to get your tummy and immune system in better working order:
6. Use Lovely LemongrassLemongrass is a lovely little perennial plant that, as the name implies, smells like lemon. It has a mild taste and is high in many immune-boosting vitamins like vitamin C, folic acid and zinc. Lemongrass aids in digestion, cleanses and detoxifies the body, and helps to fight cough, fever and flu symptoms, thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Learn how to make your own lemongrass tea to boost your immune system and fight that next cold!
7. Get Key Vitamins for the Immune SystemVitamin C and Vitamin B6 are two vitamin powerhouses for the immune system. Just like mom always said, vitamin C is essential to keep you healthy and ward off colds. B6 is essential to boost immune system response. Foods High in Vitamin C:
- Bell pepper
- Green peas
- Powerful superfruits to fight free radicals
- Essential vitamin blend that's unrivaled in boosting the immune system
- Max absorption blend (what good is a supplement if your body can't actually use what's inside?)
- No-buzz natural energy with B vitamins